Category Archives: Media

Freedom of speech…for all?

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that members of the Westboro Baptist Church have the right to protest at the funeral of vetrans.

The church believes that the wars in the Middle East are the work of God punishing Americans for the sins of homosexuality. Members show up outside churches and funeral homes across the nation with signs like “God hates f-gs” and “Pray for more dead soldiers.” Initially, a lower court ruled that the church had to pay damages to the family of a soldier killed in action for protesting, but that ruling has been overturned.

Is it right that people can use other people’s funeral as a soapbox for their own radical ideas? Probably not. But is it right that the Supreme Court is sticking up for the citizens of the United States and their right to say whatever they’d like to say?

Stick with The Pendulum, and pick up next week’s issue to read our staff editorial on this issue.

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Filed under Media, Military, Pendulum, Religion

Amusing headlines…

I’m sorry, but the Politico headline “ACORN: Congress cannot hurt us,” amused me to no end. There’s an article there somewhere, but I couldn’t help but just think of this:

I think this takes the idea of taking something literally to a whole new level.

I think this takes the idea of taking something literally to a whole new level. Also, that guy doesn't seem excited by what's next to him.

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Filed under Government, Media, Morgan

The ugly truth on an ugly issue

Look, I get it. I’m racist, you’re racist, the GOP is racist, Obama is racist, Twitter’s racist…perhaps we’re all, as Avenue Q informed us, a little bit racist. In fact, I think it’s pretty safe to say that everything is racist. Did anyone see Transformers 2? I heard it made some money, and a few swipes at blacks. Has anyone ever watched Lou Dobbs? I heard he might not like Latinos. How many times have you seen a movie that featured a black guy as the funky sideshow, the Asian as the sly, intelligent one (or just Jackie Chan) and the white guy as the gorgeous hero?

Everything’s racist, prejudices are so ingrained into our society that there’s little that we can do to completely expunge ourselves of that. Most of it is subconscious, the subtle tightening of our grip on our backpacks when walking through urban black communities, making the passing assumption that the Korean kid in class is going to be instantly brilliant or casual references to “Mexi-packing” or equating frugality with those of Jewish heritage. Not to deny that it’s not a problem, but there comes a point where there’s simply nothing more to be accomplished by continuing to bring up race issues.

This comes from a completely utilitarian standpoint, so it forgoes the whole, “but if it’s wrong, we’ve gotta fix it!” mentality plenty of folks have. But I’m sorry Jimmy Carter, you fell right into the Republican party’s hands by accusing Obama’s opposition of opposing him because of his race. Yes, the subtext of baseless and tawdry racism was more than evident during the 9/12 protests.

I mean, come on! How stupid can you be? Is anyone going to be swayed by this inane image, carried about during the 9/12 event? What does it offer to the debate other than a ridiculous amount of ignorance and a breathless lack of tact?

I mean, come on! How stupid can you be? Is anyone going to be swayed by this inane image, carried about during the 9/12 event? What does it offer to the debate other than a ridiculous amount of ignorance and a breathless lack of tact?

But calling out those on the right who gleefully stew in their own 1800’s-style opinions on race does nothing but embolden them, and it gives the impression that Obama is trying to use race as an excuse to tar and feather all of his opponents by pigeonholing their opposition into one ugly category (even though he himself hasn’t really done much of that, and I’d doubt that Carter is a well-respected adviser to the current administration, unless peanut-related issues are now vital to national interests).

Admittedly, the race issue is still the skeleton in the closet, but dragging it out accomplishes nothing. It sets the health care debate back, it distracts from environmental policy, it grabs attention away from Afghanistan and it just bottles up the right and shakes them up, irritating them even more than they already are. As morally detestable as it may be, let the race issue sit on the back burner for now, get some legislation done, stow some accomplishments away and maybe then, once some curable ills are remedied, we can solve racism.

But don’t count on it.

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Filed under Culture wars, Government, Media, Morgan, Obama

Glenn Beck Presents: Art

The gauntlet has been thrown, the faces have been besmirched with soft, white gloves, the noses have been pinched and the spit has flown both ways. And now, Glenn Beck (oh, he does present so much material doesn’t he? It’s a terrible thing to talk about him, but it’s so enjoyable, he is the living embodiment of Howard Beale…just wait until he starts preaching, We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies…The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business.”

Jerry Saltz, senior art critic of New York Magazine, challenged Beck to host two art shows, after his recent guide to New York communist art by free association, and you know he’ll do it. You know it, I know it and presumably he knew it two weeks ago, since he and FOXNews do a pretty good job of being two steps ahead.

Here’s Beck’s segment by the way, in case you haven’t seen it yet. And if you have, look at it again, and carefully analyze his natural showmanship, his gestures, the triumphant echo of his voice on the stage…the man is a born Pied Piper.

Now just what sort of art should Beck include in his own shows?

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A gallery of U.S. Agent’s best moments, since the classic Captain America is too much of a wuss and the current Captain America, while an avid gunman, was brainwashed by commies at one point.

death

escher-relativity

A depiction or two of the aftermath of universal health care would fit quite nicely.

rothko

This piece from Rothko, which obviously symbolizes the plight of the true American (embodied by the deep, heartland red in the center) who are always boxed in by the light, more frail, less hardy liberal fascists and separated from their true countrymen (who are currently at Wal-Mart and a bit out of reach). The more feathered edges of the liberal box also represents their lack of backbone, and what’s that in the middle of the liberal square? Oh, the true heart of America, the Republican party (or really just Beck, who never really seems to praise anything anyone does).

glennbeck

And what art show would be complete without a self-portrait?

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Filed under Art and fancy things, Culture wars, Government, Media, Morgan, Obama

We don’t need no education

Keep your kids out of school. And if you are a kid, keep yourself far away from the classroom. Not only just on Tuesday, when king commie fascist progressive Nazi-cuddling Empire-loving Khan-supporting butter-side-down-eating President Obama will be addressing schools that decide to broadcast his subversive message.

And what message is that? Well, it’s actually to work hard, stay in school and all of the typical stuff that my generation learned from Captain Planet and Darkwing Duck. But since no one has actually heard the speech, no one can actually accurately gauge it’s content, unless you’re anybody in the media, in which case you don’t have to wait until Monday, when the White House will release a transcript of Obama’s speech.

Or you could tell your kid to join up with P.A.S.S. Day (Parentally-approved-skip-school-day), a group formed by folks who also, presumably, will also dropkick teachers who even mention that Obama is the current president.

Or you could raise your arms in uproar over Obama’s “indoctrination and grabbing of your kids.” (As called by Glenn Beck) Or you could look at Arnie Duncan, the Education Secretary, and his letter sent to principals encouraging them to show Obama’s video (how dare they! the gall of people in Obama’s cabinet to support Obama!).

Or, and here’s the big one…you could wait until the transcript comes out! Maybe he doesn’t say anything about the kids going out and smashing their capitalist parents beneath ACORN-purchased tanks. Maybe he won’t use hypno-beams to turn all of your kids into homosexual illegal immigrants. Maybe he’ll just tell them to go to class, believe in themselves, strive themselves and drink their milk. But then, even if he did that, someone would find a cow with a spot that looked vaguely like Lenin, and accuse Obama of using communist dairy propaganda.

Though I did hear from a decent source that he just might do that...

Though I did hear from a decent source that he just might use those hypno beams...

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Filed under Culture wars, Education, Government, Media, Morgan, Obama

District 9: Rewind

Great sci-fi isn’t built upon the bluster of battlecrusiers exchanging laser fire while orbiting far-flung planets, nor is it initially constructed with an ornate, complex back-story with confounding names and outlandish technological advancements.

Great sci-fi hinges upon changing just a few major elements in the universe the visionary is creating, and then observing and analyzing natural human responses to these strange and wondrous alterations. All of the robots, lightsabers and ray guns in the world cannot corral a intriguing and compelling story, instead, truly engaging work uses them as garnish atop a story that ultimately hinges upon character interaction, not arbitrary set-pieces and tedious explosions.

Plenty has been said about District 9, and the praise has come in swarms, both from the critics corner and from the box office returns. So I won’t talk about just how fantastic the movie is, how its direction perfectly fluctuates between brutal realism, heartbreak and fantastically captivating action, how its allegorical and simple premise which, although dealing with familiar themes, is nonetheless refreshing.

Instead, I’d like to highlight something that I haven’t seen discussed much in the criticism or discussion of the film (and if it has, do be kind, I can’t be privy the Internet in its entirety).

Isn't this true of all films? It's not too often you see cats or fish in a movie theater...

Isn't this true of all films? It's not too often you see cats or fish in a movie theater...

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Filed under Hollywood, Media, Military, Morgan, Technology

An ugly golden goose

“If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. If you teach a man to fish, we will eat for a lifetime.”

So goes the oft-repeated proverb, but it unfortunately ignores the matter of whether or not the man is question is the least bit fond of fish. Maybe he’s allergic, trying out a new “anti-healthy diet or just doesn’t want the darn tuna. To lather with cliche for a bit longer, we’re told not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but just as often as not, folks seem to do just that.

Perhaps it comes along with the whole, “decadent western civilization thing” or perhaps it’s a component of the perpetually lusty gaze we Americans turn to things we don’t have. Whatever the reason, just because something is beneficial, whether it be a material object or a skill, doesn’t mean that people will want it, even if their personal sacrifice in obtaining said gift is negligible.

Case in point: This show, otherwise titled as "Young Narcisists Want More Sparkly Junk: Why Everyone Under 18 Should be Mailed to Madagasscar."

Case in point: This show, otherwise titled as "Young Narcisists Want More Sparkly Junk: Why Everyone Under 18 Should be Mailed to Madagascar."

Dan Rather, in an op-ed for The Washington Post, echoed his calls for federal hand in solving the current crisis in the transition from old media (newspapers) to new media (tweets from some girl you hooked up with in sophomore year).

“I want the president to convene a nonpartisan, blue-ribbon commission to assess the state of the news as an institution and an industry and to make recommendations for improving and stabilizing both,” Rather said, obviously equating the quality of his commission to the upstanding quality of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

“Why bring the president into it? Because this is the only way I could think of to generate the sort of attention this subject deserves. Academia and think tanks generate study after study, yet their findings don’t reach the people who need to be reached.”

The problem with Rather’s suggestion, which is actually something I’ve considered advocating, is threefold. First, involving President Obama with anything at the moment is guaranteed to drag said thing into a cesspool of partisan bickering and a subsequent bout of amnesia about what the shouting was about in the first place.

Then, Rather suggests moving the study of the media’s evolution away from the academic sector, which sounds fine and dandy, except by involving the feds, you involve…well…the feds. Not only is the entirety of congress focused on solely on health care (and planes! more planes!), but any sort of government involvement in media at this time could be the most counterproductive way to create a trustworthy relationship between the public and reporters.

“But it worked with the BBC! It’s government-funded and is arguably the most highly-regarded news source in the world!” you may exclaim. While that may be true, the BBC also originates from a radically different time, when the populace was a bit preoccupied with the whole “post WWI fiasco,” along with an approach to free speech that was littered with seditious libel (remember, the monarchy actually mattered back then). To even involve the federal government in something as superficially innocent as a collection of assessments and recommendations on the media raises that damning specter of censorship and further speculation of a liberal bias in the media.

Oh. But that already happened.

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Filed under Business, Culture wars, Education, Government, Media, Monkeys, Obama